The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas is the original word for Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived. At this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its peak in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, experiencing prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, architecture, mathematics and science, it is considered a period of transition, sometimes of decadence or degeneration, compared to the enlightenment of the Greek Classical era. The Hellenistic period saw the rise of New Comedy, Alexandrian poetry, the Septuagint and the philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. Greek science was advanced by the works of the polymath Archimedes; the religious sphere expanded to include new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian Serapis, eastern deities such as Attis and Cybele and a syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism in Bactria and Northwest India.
After Alexander the Great's invasion of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BC and its disintegration shortly after, the Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout south-west Asia, north-east Africa and South Asia. The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa; this resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, spanning as far as modern-day India. However, these new kingdoms were influenced by the indigenous cultures, adopting local practices where beneficial, necessary, or convenient. Hellenistic culture thus represents a fusion of the Ancient Greek world with that of the Near East, Middle East, Southwest Asia; this mixture gave rise to a common Attic-based Greek dialect, known as Koine Greek, which became the lingua franca through the Hellenistic world. Scholars and historians are divided as to; the Hellenistic period may be seen to end either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC following the Achean War, with the final defeat of the Ptolemaic Kingdom at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, or the move by Roman emperor Constantine the Great of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople in 330 AD.
"Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the first encompasses the entire sphere of direct ancient Greek influence, while the latter refers to Greece itself. The word originated from the German term hellenistisch, from Ancient Greek Ἑλληνιστής, from Ἑλλάς. "Hellenistic" is a 19th-century concept. Although words related in form or meaning, e.g. Hellenist, have been attested since ancient times, it was Johann Gustav Droysen in the mid-19th century, who in his classic work Geschichte des Hellenismus, coined the term Hellenistic to refer to and define the period when Greek culture spread in the non-Greek world after Alexander's conquest. Following Droysen and related terms, e.g. Hellenism, have been used in various contexts; the major issue with the term Hellenistic lies in its convenience, as the spread of Greek culture was not the generalized phenomenon that the term implies. Some areas of the conquered world were more affected by Greek influences than others; the term Hellenistic implies that the Greek populations were of majority in the areas in which they settled, but in many cases, the Greek settlers were the minority among the native populations.
The Greek population and the native population did not always mix. While a few fragments exist, there is no complete surviving historical work which dates to the hundred years following Alexander's death; the works of the major Hellenistic historians Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos and Phylarchus which were used by surviving sources are all lost. The earliest and most credible surviving source for the Hellenistic period is Polybius of Megalopolis, a statesman of the Achaean League until 168 BC when he was forced to go to Rome as a hostage, his Histories grew to a length of forty books, covering the years 220 to 167 BC. The most important source after Polybius is Diodorus Siculus who wrote his Bibliotheca historica between 60 and 30 BC and reproduced some important earlier sources such as Hieronymus, but his account of the Hellenistic period breaks off after the battle of Ipsus. Another important source, Plutarch's Parallel Lives although more preoccupied with issues of personal character and morality, outlines the history of important Hellenistic figures.
Appian of Alexandria wrote a history of the Roman empire that includes information of some Hellenistic kingdoms. Other sources include Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus' Historiae Philipicae and a summary of Arrian's Events after Alexander, by Photios I of Constantinople. Lesser supplementary sources include Curtius Rufus, Pausanias and the Byzantine encyclopedia the Suda. In the field of philosophy, Diogenes Laër
Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20, he spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philip's assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela.
He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River, he endeavored to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He turned back at the demand of his homesick troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs. Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism, he founded some twenty cities. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century AD and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the 1920s.
Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics, he is ranked among the most influential people in history. Alexander was born on the sixth day of the ancient Greek month of Hekatombaion, which corresponds to 20 July 356 BC, although the exact date is disputed, in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon, he was the son of the king of Macedon, Philip II, his fourth wife, the daughter of Neoptolemus I, king of Epirus. Although Philip had seven or eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some time because she gave birth to Alexander. Several legends surround Alexander's childhood. According to the ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, on the eve of the consummation of her marriage to Philip, Olympias dreamed that her womb was struck by a thunder bolt that caused a flame to spread "far and wide" before dying away.
Sometime after the wedding, Philip is said to have seen himself, in a dream, securing his wife's womb with a seal engraved with a lion's image. Plutarch offered a variety of interpretations of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before her marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb. Ancient commentators were divided about whether the ambitious Olympias promulgated the story of Alexander's divine parentage, variously claiming that she had told Alexander, or that she dismissed the suggestion as impious. On the day Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalcidice; that same day, Philip received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies, that his horses had won at the Olympic Games. It was said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, burnt down; this led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander.
Such legends may have emerged when Alexander was king, at his own instigation, to show that he was superhuman and destined for greatness from conception. In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse, sister of Alexander's future general Cleitus the Black. In his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, by Lysimachus of Acarnania. Alexander was raised in the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the lyre, ride and hunt; when Alexander was ten years old, a trader from Thessaly brought Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen talents. The horse refused to be mounted, Philip ordered it away. Alexander however, detecting the horse's fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he managed. Plutarch stated that Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: "My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you", an
Coinage of the Ptolemaic Kingdom was in use during the last dynasty of Egypt and during Roman rule of Egypt. Ptolemaic coinage was struck in Phoenician weight known as Ptolemaic weight; this standard, not used elsewhere in the Hellenistic world, was smaller than the dominant Attic weight. Consequentially, Ptolemaic coins are smaller than other Hellenistic coinage. In terms of art, the coins, which were made of silver, followed the example set by contemporary Greek currencies, with dynastic figures being portrayed; the Ptolemaic coin making process resulted in a central depression, similar to what can be found on Seleucid coinage. The Ptolemaic dynasty introduced coinage to Egypt, where pre-existing native dynasties did not use coins; the first Ptolemaic mint was in Memphis and was moved to Alexandria. Succeeding in monetizing the Egyptian society due to efforts of king Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Ptolemaic kingdom flourished. For most of its history, the kingdom vigorously enforced a policy of a single currency, confiscating foreign coins found on its territory and forcing its dominions to adopt Ptolemaic coinage.
In the rare cases when these dominions were allowed their own currency, such as the Jewish community in Palestine, they still had to observe the Ptolemaic weight. These policies, along with inflation and increasing difficulty to obtain silver, caused monetary isolation of the Ptolemaic coinage. After Egypt was annexed into the Roman Empire and the Ptolemaic dynasty ceased to exist, its currency still remained in circulation; this was the case until the rule of Emperor Nero. Silver from the coins was reused for Roman tetradrachm. Denarii and aurei did not circulate in the former Ptolemaic Kingdom, so Egypt's monetary isolation continued. Ptolemaic Kingdom used Phoenician weight instead of the more common Attic weight. Phoenician weight known as Ptolemaic weight, is about 14,20 grams; the more common Attic weight from other Hellenistic states is 17,26 grams. Ptolemaic coinage was struck in different standard, the kingdom sought to obtain full royal control on coinage in circulation; the largest denominations of Ptolemaic bronze coinage weight up to 100 grams.
Artistically, Ptolemaic coinage followed contemporary Greek currencies. A commonplace symbol of the Ptolemaic dynasty is an eagle standing on a thunderbolt, first adopted by Ptolemy I Soter; the more peculiar Ptolemaic coinage include so-called "dynastic issues". Ptolemy II Philadelphus married his sister Arsinoe II to gain legitimacy in eyes of the local Egyptian population. Egyptian rulers had traditionally married their sisters to signify a connection to sacred union between the deities Osiris and Isis. A medal-like coin with one side portraying Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II, the other side portraying Ptolemy I and Berenice I was struck after the death of Arsinoe II, she had significant posthumous influence on Egyptian religious life, the ruling Greek dynasty was deified. In the coin making process, there were similarities with Seleucid coinage. For instance, Ptolemaic coins have a central depression from the coin making process; the first Ptolemaic mint was at Memphis. It was moved to Alexandria.
Tyre was the most important coastal city out of the five Ptolemaic cities with a mint in Syria. After the Seleucid Kingdom led by Antiochus III the Great conquered Coele-Syria Ptolemais in Phoenicia was still allowed to strike coins using the Phoenician weight; the mint remained prolific, was among the most active ones in the Seleucid Kingdom. It is that the city struck silver coinage without an interruption after it changed hands, as it was a important city in Phoenicia. However, the Seleucids discontinued a Ptolemaic mint in Jaffa. In Greece, Ptolemaic coinage originate from Peloponnese and Euboea. Corinth did not strike Ptolemaic coinage during its brief subordination to the kingdom. Cyprus had many important mints, the island struck large amounts of Ptolemaic coinage from 200 BC to 80 BC. Cyprus was richer in silver than Egypt. In the second century BC, most of the Cypriot coinage are identifiable and datable because they include abbreviations for mints and dates for both gold and silver coinage.
Cypriot mints from this period include Salamis and Paphos. Meanwhile, at Crete, there was no royal coinage in use, Cretan cities had a strong autonomy of minting their own coins. There are no evidence. Furthermore, regions such as Cilicia and Lycia had no autonomous mints striking local currency, it seems that there was little circulation of Ptolemaic currency in Caria, Lycia and Cilicia. Local Pamphylian silver coinage was discontinued under Ptolemaic control, it is that people in southern Asia Minor did not have a habit of using coinage in everyday economic transactions. Silver was scarcer than gold in Egypt, the exact ratio of their value is unclear. Silver was however shipped in significant quantities from abroad. In addition, Ptolemaic Cyprus produced. Coinage was not used in Egypt during pre-Ptolemaic native dynasties, it has been deducted from discoveries of ancient foreign coinage in Egypt that foreign currency was used as bullion rather than as money during the native dynasties. During Ptolemaic rule, Egypt transformed from a currency-free society to a monetized one by the course of the third century BC.
King Ptolemy II Philadelphus had a marked influence in the process. Greek rule monetized Egyptian taxation, this was one of the key reasons for the success of the Ptolemaic state. Before the Ptolemaic period, metals such as copper, grain, were use
Philippeioi called Alexanders, were the gold coins used in the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia. First issued at some point between 355 and 347 BCE, the coins featured a portrait of the Greek deity Apollo on the obverse, on the reverse, an illustration of a biga, a Greek chariot drawn by two horses, they had the value of one gold stater each. In the first issuing, Apollo was depicted with long hair, but after that the design was altered permanently to one in which Apollo's hair was shorter; the coins were intended for large purchases outside of Macedonia. As a result, they spread first to the Balkans and continental Greece, throughout the Western world of the time; the vast majority of these were struck by Philip's successor, Alexander the Great. The philippeioi issued by Alexander after Philip's death continued to use that name though they were called "alexanders" by Alexander's supporters. Considered the most famous coins to be struck by king Philip II, the philippeioi continued to be influential after they were no longer in circulation.
Their design was mimicked or replicated by currencies outside of Greece long after the philippeioi themselves were no longer in circulation. The Gaulish gold staters, whose design mimicked that of the philippeioi, continued to be minted up until the end of the Gallic Wars three centuries later. In many cases, the design of the coins changed; the coins were so widespread that in many ancient Roman texts, the word philippeioi is used generically, to refer to any heavy gold coins. Ancient Macedonian coins, Numismatic Museum of Athens
The stater was an ancient coin used in various regions of Greece. The term is used for similar coins, imitating Greek staters, minted elsewhere in ancient Europe; the stater, as a Greek silver currency, first as ingots, as coins, circulated from the 8th century BC to AD 50. The earliest known stamped stater is an electrum turtle coin, struck at Aegina that dates to about 700 BC, it is on display at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. According to Robin Lane Fox, the stater as a weight unit was borrowed by the Euboean stater weighing 16.8 grams from the Phoenician shekel, which had about the same weight as a stater and was one fiftieth of a mina. The silver stater minted at Corinth of 8.6 g weight was divided into three silver drachmae of 2.9 g, but was linked to the Athenian silver didrachm weighing 8.6 g. In comparison, the Athenian silver tetradrachm weighed 17.2 g. Staters were struck in several Greek city-states such as, Aspendos, Knossos, many city-states of Ionia, Megalopolis, Olympia, Poseidonia, Thasos and more.
There existed a "gold stater", but it was only minted in some places, was an accounting unit worth 20–28 drachmae depending on place and time, the Athenian unit being worth 20 drachmae.. The use of gold staters in coinage seems of Macedonian origin; the best known types of Greek gold staters are the 28-drachma kyzikenoi from Cyzicus. Celtic tribes brought the concept to Western and Central Europe after obtaining it while serving as mercenaries in north Greece. Gold staters were minted in Gaul by Gallic chiefs modeled after those of Philip II of Macedonia, which were brought back after serving in his armies, or those of Alexander and his successors; some of these staters in the form of the Gallo-Belgic series were imported to Britain on a large scale. These went on to influence a range of staters produced in Britain. British Gold staters weighed between 4.5 and 6.5 grams. Celtic staters were minted in present-day Czech Republic and Poland; the conquests of Alexander extended Greek culture east. Gold staters have been found from the ancient region of Gandhara from the time of Kanishka.
In 2018, archaeologists in Podzemelj, Slovenia unearthed fifteen graves at the Pezdirčeva Njiva site. In one of the graves they found a bronze belt with a gold coin; the coin was a Celtic imitation of the Alexander the Great stater, depicting Nike and Athena, dates back to the first half of the 3rd century B. C. Coson Egyptian gold stater Silver stater with a turtle The dictionary definition of stater at Wiktionary The British Museum- Electrum 1/6 stater Silver stater with Pegasus and head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet, Akarnania, c. 250–167 BCE, Thyrreion mint Stater coins
The Diadochi were the rival generals and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death in 323 BC. The Wars of the Diadochi mark the beginning of the Hellenistic period from the Mediterranean to the Indus River Valley. An army on campaign changes its leadership at any level for replacement of casualties and distribution of talent to the current operations; the institution of the Hetairoi gave the Macedonian army a flexible capability in this regard. There were no fixed ranks of Hetairoi; the Hetairoi were a fixed pool of de facto general officers, without any or with changing de jure rank, whom Alexander could assign where needed. They were from the nobility, many related to Alexander. A parallel flexible structure in the Persian army facilitated combined units. Staff meetings to adjust command structure were nearly a daily event in Alexander's army, they created an ongoing expectation among the Hetairoi of receiving an important and powerful command, if only for a short term.
At the moment of Alexander's death, all possibilities were suspended. The Hetairoi vanished with Alexander, to be replaced instantaneously by the Diadochi, men who knew where they had stood, but not where they would stand now; as there had been no definite ranks or positions of Hetairoi, there were no ranks of Diadochi. They expected appointments. For purposes of this presentation, the Diadochi are grouped by their rank and social standing at the time of Alexander's death; these were their initial positions as Diadochi. They are not significant or determinative of what happened next. In Hellenistic times the title Diadoch was the lowest in a system of official rank titles, it was first used in the 19th century to denote the immediate successors of Alexander. Craterus was an infantry and naval commander under Alexander during his conquest of Persia. After the revolt of his army at Opis on the Tigris River in 324, Alexander ordered Craterus to command the veterans as they returned home to Macedonia.
Antipater, commander of Alexander's forces in Greece and regent of the Macedonian throne in Alexander's absence, would lead a force of fresh troops back to Persia to join Alexander while Craterus would become regent in his place. When Craterus arrived at Cilicia in 323 BC, news reached him of Alexander's death. Though his distance from Babylon prevented him from participating in the distribution of power, Craterus hastened to Macedonia to assume the protection of Alexander's family; the news of Alexander's death caused the Greeks to rebel in the Lamian War. Craterus and Antipater defeated the rebellion in 322 BC. Despite his absence, the generals gathered at Babylon confirmed Craterus as Guardian of the Royal Family. However, with the royal family in Babylon, the Regent Perdiccas assumed this responsibility until the royal household could return to Macedonia. Antipater was Alexander's father, a role he continued under Alexander; when Alexander left Macedon to conquer Persia in 334 BC, Antipater was named Regent of Macedon and General of Greece in Alexander's absence.
In 323 BC, Craterus was ordered by Alexander to march his veterans back to Macedon and assume Antipater's position while Antipater was to march to Persia with fresh troops. Alexander's death that year, prevented the order from being carried out; when Alexander's generals gathered in Babylon to divide the empire between themselves, Antipater was confirmed as General of Greece while the roles of Regent of the Empire and Guardian of the Royal Family were given to Perdiccas and Craterus, respectively. Together, the three men formed the top ruling group of the empire; the Somatophylakes were the seven bodyguards of Alexander. Satraps were the governors of the provinces in the Hellenistic empires; the Epigoni were the sons of the Argive heroes who had fought in the first Theban war. In the 19th century the term was used to refer to the second generation of Diadochi rulers. Without a chosen successor, there was immediately a dispute among Alexander's generals as to whom his successor should be. Meleager and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander's half-brother, while Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander's unborn child by Roxana.
A compromise was arranged – Arrhidaeus should become King, should rule jointly with Roxana's child, assuming that it was a boy. Perdiccas himself would become Regent of the entire Empire, Meleager his lieutenant. Soon, Perdiccas had Meleager and the other infantry leaders murdered, assumed full control; the other cavalry generals who had supported Perdiccas were rewarded in the partition of Babylon by becoming satraps of the various parts of the Empire. Ptolemy received Egypt. Macedon and the rest of Greece were to be under the joint rule of Antipater, who had governed them for Alexander, Craterus, Alexander's most able lieutenant, while Alexander's old secretary, Eumenes of Cardia, was to receive Cappadocia and Paphlagonia. In the east, Perdiccas left Alexander's arrangements intact – Taxiles and Porus governed over their kingdoms in India.
Coinage of the Kingdom of Pontus
History of coinage of the Pontic Kingdom began during reign of Mithridates II of the Kingdom of Pontus. Early Pontic coinage imitated coinage with Alexander the Great's portraits. Coinage is well known for its high decree of realism in portraits of the Pontic kings who were proud of their Iranian ancestry. Pontic coin portraitry developed isolated from wider Hellenistic tradition. However, Mithridates V and his son Mithridates VI abandoned oriental influences in the coin portraitry. Pontic mints experimented with new materials for coinage. Pure copper and brass were used in mints during reign of Mithridates VI, his brass coinage are the earliest known coins made from brass. His rule and wars struck coinage. Earlier Pontic coinage attributable to prior rulers is rare. Pontic coinage managed to gain a wide acceptance within eastern Mediterranean region. Prior to the Kingdom of Pontus, the Pontic region had autonomous coastal, cities with Greek background. Cities with mints were exclusively Greek colonies.
It is that the first coinage was struck during Mithridates II's reign. His reign is assumed to have lasted from 255 BC to 220 BC; the first Pontic coinage mimicked other coinage with Alexander the Great's image on them. Mithridates III had issued substantial amount of silver coinage by the end of his reign, he was the first Pontic ruler to have a coin with his own portrait. Before Mithridates VI Pontic coinage is rare; this has complicated studies of royal Pontic coinage. However, chronology of the Pontic coinage is well known from research. For instance, Mithridates VI dated most of his coins by month. There was a distinction between city coinage. Royal coinage was struck on silver, they had king's image and name on them. Coinage produced by cities were made from bronze and had name of the city on reverse side of the coin. Coinage struck autonomously by cities was discontinued for a time, as the cities lost their autonomy under reign of Pharnakes I. Mithridates VI restored privilege of cities to have their own coinage, but he retained some control, as can be deducted from standardization of local coinage.
Pontic coinage has fine portraits of their kings. Only Greco-Bactrian coinage is minted in such a realistic detail. Greek engravers were hired to carve coin dies used in the minting process. Pontic ruling dynasty was proud of its Iranian descent, the portraits show their oriental features. Mithridates III struck a coin with a Zeus holding an eagle on one side, the other side portrayed himself as a non-idealized bearded old man with a short hair, it was customary to have more realistic coin portraits in the east. However, the Pontic dynasty had married early in the Seleucid royal line; the Pontic Kingdom remained stubbornly resistant to foreign influence. Despite the ruling dynasty's Iranian origins, the Pontic state is considered to be a Hellenistic state. Most of the population was ethnically Iranian. Pontic portraiture developed outside the typical Hellenistic art. Mithridates V was the first king who had a idealized portraiture about himself in coinage; the trend was further developed by his son Mithridates VI.
The trend may have started from wishes of Mithridates V to show his Greek side more than his oriental background. Late Hellenistic Pontic coinage have been found around the Mediterranean; this may indicate mobility of goods from the period contemporary with the Pontic kingdom. Pontic coinage has been found from same coin hoards together with other Hellenistic coinage; such hoards have been found in south-eastern Anatolia. It is that Pontic coins were accepted in the eastern Mediterranean region; the Kingdom of Bosporus was governed after its conquest by a son of Mithridates VI. Pontic coinage has been found from northern shores of the Black Sea, it has been suggested that Mithridates VI's policy allowed more isolated cities of the kingdom from central Black Sea region to profit. His goal may have been to bring a sense of unity to these cities, he allowed the most important cities to have their own copper coinage. Amaseia became exceptionally, for a brief period of time, the only Pontic city allowed to strike its own silver and gold coinage.
Mithridates VI allowed this as a reward for the city's service for him. He encouraged mints managed by temples. Mithridates VI imitated Alexander the Great in coin portraits, his coin portraits portray him as a young man with a flowing hair, long sideburns, a prominent nose and a narrow forehead. His hair and eyes are in a style similar with portrayals of Alexander, his coinage shows the late Pontic style that abandoned oriental tradition of non-idealized portrayals of kings. The new style is closer of common Hellenistic coinage; the most common image in his coinage, in various denominations, was a grazing animal together with a star and a crescent. Ivy leaves and grapes were included to the scene. Pegasi and stags are two animals appearing in his coins, it has been suggested that after the Kingdom of Pontus expanded westward under his reign, the pegasus was abandoned and coins with a stag started to appear. This change would have been politically motivated as the pegasus would have been too associated with Persia.
Mithridates VI did include in certain coins scenes about the myth of Perseus to emphasize his dual ancestry between Greece and Persia. Appian claimed that Perseus was an ancestor of Alexander the Great, while Herodotus thought Perseus as a Persian; the First and Second Mithridatic Wars were preceded with heavy minting. However, after the second war all minting ceased. During the wars between Rome and Pontus Mithridates VI funded his military campaigns by introducing new m